276. Letter From President Ford to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Dear Mr. General Secretary:

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

As you have pointed out, the work in another area of negotiation—the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe—has been slower than anticipated. In part this is because so far the most difficult issues have been left open. But as a result of the recent discussions between Secretary Kissinger and your Foreign Minister, we have already made some substantial progress on one of the most difficult of the remaining issues—the question of peaceful change of frontiers.

As I see it, the Conference will still require some weeks to complete all the details, and then the results can be referred to governments for final consideration. I anticipate no difficulties, and the United States will raise no problems during this interval. Then, as agreed with you, [Page 811] the final stage can be convened at the highest level of participation for the closing ceremonies. This leaves only the problem of when, precisely, the final stage of the Conference should be convened. After some discussion with our friends and allies, it seems that with good will on all sides the most realistic date would be sometime in July. If this is an acceptable target date, we should commit ourselves to an appropriate work schedule.

In any case, the successful conclusion of this Conference, occurring during the year of the 30th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will be a signal accomplishment for which you, Mr. General Secretary, will deserve great credit. Unlike the situation that led up to both World Wars, we have within our grasp the means for building cooperation and ensuring security in Europe. The inviolability of frontiers, in particular, will be among the key elements of a solemn document. As you know, the United States has long since accepted the frontiers and territorial integrity of all European states, and I reaffirm this position without qualification.

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]


Gerald R. Ford
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger and Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 28, USSR, “D” File. Secret. According to an attached cover memorandum, Scowcroft forwarded the letter to Vorontsov on March 1. The full text of the letter is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XVI, Soviet Union, August 1974–December 1976.